Maintenance payments for the other former spouse or civil partner (see also Child Maintenance): These will largely depend on the need of one and the means of the other in the light of the standard of living of the couple. In some circumstances maintenance can be secured on an asset.
Lump Sum Orders
Lump sum orders: These can either be made to adjust the assets or as capitalised maintenance or both. Since English courts need to consider whether a clean break is possible, if appropriate, they will make a lump sum order to cover future income needs instead of an order for maintenance. The lump sum will usually be less than simply the sum of the monthly maintenance instalments and there are sophisticated calculations to come to particular sums.
The court can for example order for a house to be transferred to one party, maybe combined with a lump sum going the other way, effectively a buy-out. The court can also transfer things like a car or shares.
Sale of Property
The court can order a house, a flat or other assets to be sold and the proceeds to be divided in a certain way.
Delaying a Sale
The court can order that a property will not be sold for a particular period, for example for a house not to be sold until the children are grown up.
The court can split UK occupational and private pensions in any shares, they do not have to be equal. It can also order maintenance to be paid directly from pension payments or a lump sum to be paid directly from the death-in-service benefit or the commutable lump sum in private pensions. Pensions are complicated and specialist advice is essential. In a lot of cases the court may simply let spouses keep their pensions and give the other spouse something else instead. The court will need the cash equivalent value of a pension in order to value it. Pension providers have up to three months to provide this information and therefore you should requested it as early as possible.
Of course, if parties come to an agreement, they can agree other financial adjustments that the court could not order. However, the court may not necessarily be able to enforce those parts of the agreement and therefore any consent order must be worded very carefully and it is essential that a specialist solicitor deals with the matter.
If you litigate through the courts about finances, this is naturally going to cost money on lawyers (as well as lost wages for days in court and stress etc). You may therefore argue about a shirking pot to divide. Mediation is a good and inexpensive way to come to an overall settlement without going to court. Therefore, it is compulsory in most cases for anyone who wants to make an application to the court for a financial order to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) first.
For advice on your specific circumstances please contact a solicitor
20 May 2016 by Andrea Woelke